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Vendini ACT 2013: Connecting a Community
Our vision at Vendini is to make the process of running live events simple and to ensure our Members have the tools and connections for their businesses to run smoother. Two weeks ago in San Francisco, we hosted our inaugural Member conference, Vendini ACT Conference 2013. We chose the name ACT (Activate. Collaborate. Transform.) because we thought it best applied to our goal of giving our Members a forum to exchange ideas with other Members, experts, and executives. We also wanted Members to feel a part of what was going on inside of Vendini and where our products were heading. By the end of the conference it was evident that Vendini ACT helped further our vision at Vendini. By capturing feedback from our Members, creating a space for them to gain industry insights, and providing extensive training, we were able to empower our Members to more simply run their business.
Members joined us from across the country, some from as far as Alaska on one coast and Massachusetts on the other, and others just from down the street. I was floored by the amount of talented arts professionals I met over the two days of the conference. There were executive directors, box office managers, and marketing managers from organizations large and small. No matter the size or position, there was a bond over the same passions for live entertainment and managing live events.
By far, the most exciting part of the conference was not only putting a face to a name for our Members, but also seeing everyone learning and teaching one another. On the first day, there was a lot of listening and absorbing as our Executive and Support Team gave their presentations. But during the breaks, our Support Team was non-stop answering questions and chatting with our Members. Members were taking full advantage of our Ask The Expert hours where they were given 1:1 time to discuss specific questions on their set up with our Support Managers. But where we saw much of the in depth conversations between our Members was during our break out sessions, with topics like “Higher Education”, “Donations and Fundraising”, “The Marketing Grab Bag”, and “Managing Volunteers, Students, and Staff”. The collaboration and exchange of ideas in these break outs really contributed to the feeling of community.
By the second day, our Members were answering each other’s questions and really feeling a sense of ownership over Vendini's system. During presentations one Member would ask the presenter, “How do you do this?” and another Member would turn around in their seat and shout, “I can show you how to do that!”.
"There is no doubt that we will be going to the conference every year," said Debra Fyodorov from the Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center at Montgomery College. "And I want more staff people to attend it. I have different people doing different jobs here. I want every one of my staff that touches Vendini to go to the conference every year." This was the type of training and interaction I was hoping for and I was excited to see it. We hope this Member interaction continues throughout the year.
With the overwhelmingly positive response and feedback from those who attended the conference this year, we’re even more motivated to make next year bigger and better. We’re excited to announce that Vendini ACT 2014 will be taking a trip to the east coast next year in Boston. We hope to continue to grow the conference-- with trainings, best practices, professional development and new tools.
Thank you so much to all of the Members that came, that answered their peer’s questions, and that continue to give back to their community. We can’t wait to see you next year.
Whether your theatre is large or small, donations are critical to operating a successful performing arts venue. There are many ways to optimize donation campaigns. The hardest part is deciding how. From our experience working with Members on their donation campaigns, we’ve put together some best practices on how to build and retain your donor base.
1. Simplify, simplify, simplify!
The easiest way to dissuade a patron from making a donation is to complicate the donating process, so make it easy to find and make it simple to do. Don’t make potential donors hunt for a “Donate Here” button on your website. Have it readily available on the homepage or in a “Support” tab on the toolbar. Also, simplify the donation process by cutting down the required fields in the donations form. Make the process quick and easy. The less clicks, the more likely patrons will finish the donation process!
2. Develop a tiered giving system.
Committing to being a donor is a big step. The best thing to do with folks on the fence is to take baby steps. For some patrons, simply suggesting donation amounts is all it takes for your patrons to begin giving. A low tier can move those on the fence to becoming donors.
A tiered giving system is a great way to track the size of donations you’ll be receiving and also gives your donors a suggested next step. Start by looking at how much your donors are currently giving and offer suggestions on how they could reach the next “tier” of giving. Add benefits at each level to encourage donors to give more.
3. Turn your donors club into a brand advocacy group.
Patrons willing to donate to your venue are actively engaging with you and your brand. Maintain that loyalty by establishing a branded donors club, one where people feel less like a regular community do-gooder and more like a brand advocate. Associate the branding with exclusivity and special recognition, and people will feel a personal attachment to being a member in your donors club. Once the club is established, you can show ways of appreciation to your donors, like organizing donor dinners, facilitating meet and greets with performers, or giving Donor VIP parking at the venue. Integrate these benefits into your tiered giving system and slowly start to move your occasional donors up to all-star brand advocates.
4. Keep in touch.
Whatever you can do to keep in touch with your donors will help in building a relationship with them. You can do this by sending out a monthly VIP newsletter with promotions, information about upcoming events, etc. It not only reminds your donors that you exist, but that they qualify for exclusive deals or rewards from your venue. These emails can also be an opportunity to garner referrals from other prospective donors.
When crafting a long term plan for a donations program, be sure to keep in mind the main goal: turning donors into advocates. Whether it’s through a tiered giving system, a donors club, or special recognition, make it simple and show donors the benefits that come with being an advocate.
We hope these tips help you bolster your donation program, and we’d love to hear from you about how you’ve used them!
Statement from Vendini Regarding Unauthorized Entry into its Systems
We regret to inform you that on April 25, 2013, Vendini, Inc. detected an unauthorized intrusion into its systems. Vendini provides box-office and online ticketing services to hundreds of Vendini members, which include tour, casino, sports, arts, and entertainment venues and promoters across the U.S. and Canada. Please read more here.
Introducing Vendini ACT Conference 2013 in San Francisco, California
It’s important to all of us at Vendini to maintain close relationships with all our Members. For those of you who responded to our survey from earlier this year about the value of a Member conference, thank you. We heard your feedback loud and clear and are very excited to announce Vendini ACT Conference 2013, our inaugural Member conference taking place August 19-20, 2013 in beautiful San Francisco, California.
The theme of this year’s conference is Activate, Collaborate, Transform. We know we can learn as much from you, as you can learn from us, and from one another.
Based on feedback from Vendini Members, we’ve put together a conference schedule that is chock full of advanced training and strategy sessions to help Members learn, network, and take their box office to the next level.
Vendini ACT Conference 2013 attendees will:
- Explore best practices and the latest Vendini features
- Sharpen skills with in-person training from Vendini experts
- Connect and collaborate with peers
- Discover how others are successfully using Vendini
- Get an inside look from Vendini Executives at what’s coming.
Our friends at Tides Theatre here in San Francisco have graciously offered to host the conference at their venue located in the heart of the theater district near Union Square, and just a few blocks from Vendini headquarters. You can almost hear the bell of the cable car and smell the fresh baking sourdough bread, can’t you?
As we have been presenting at conferences like Arts Reach New York and INTIX and working with our members to help them sell more tickets, one of the the best practices we’ve found strongly resonating with our Members was taking the time to plan an editorial calendar.
Although posting content online seems simple enough, many arts marketers find that the day-to-day management of multiple channels and creating content is quite time consuming and takes up a chunk of their day. Creating an online editorial calendar can help ease the content creation process and enables them to organize their day-to-day activities. These tips may seem obvious, but can easily be overlooked when dealing with the daunting task of planning a whole season. So here are some tips to get you started on your Editorial Calendar: 1. Choose Your Channels.
In our INTIX and Arts Reach presentation, we stressed the best practice of focusing and measuring your online efforts. So, try and focus your online editorial calendar on things you know you can tackle or on channels with the biggest audience. Here are the most commonly used marketing channels to consider: - Yelp
- LinkedIn - Facebook - Twitter - Instagram - Four Square
Start exploring! Talk to your current audience or the audience you are targeting and see where they are interacting and where they are looking for content or events. Start with only one or two channels to keep it under control and easy.
2. Plan for Measuring.
Keeping your channels consistent helps with being able to measure what content is resonating with your audience. It’s a long term commitment, but it goes a long way when you’re trying to decide what to post and produce. Should your efforts be towards making podcasts or towards taking pictures? These are the types of questions that will undoubtedly arise. So when choosing your channels, make sure to plan how you are going to measure success.
3. Start from the Top.
Look at your overall year, then work your way down to the month, then to the week, etc.. It’s no different than how you normally plan out your year. Sometimes it’s best to start with the bigger picture. For instance, try starting with your production schedule. Your posts don’t have to be planned a year in advance. But you can atleast have an idea of when you should be starting to promote your productions. Try coordinating your auditions, direct mails or email marketing campaigns with social media posts. As you get further along, you can tailor down the content to what is currently happening with your venue or your event.
Make sure you know who’s responsible for posting. Is it the Box Office Manager? The Executive Assistant? Usually it’s your marketing person, but for smaller venues where people wear multiple hats, it’s harder to determine who should be doing what. So plan ahead! Put a date on each post and assign them.
5. Visuals Help.
Creating an actual calendar with dates, days, and times really helps in keeping everyone on track with what’s about to launch and what has already been posted. It also helps keep everyone on task and accountable. Share the calendar either by creating a physical calendar that everyone can refer to or an online calendar using Google Calendar. That way everyone can have access to it. These are just general tips to help plan on your editorial calendar and start to commit to a social media plan. There are a lot of ways people plan their editorial calendar and a lot of different ways people create their own content. Either way, it can’t be denied that when juggling productions, patron management, ticketing, and marketing - planning helps. Comment below and share other tips that have worked for you!
Vendini Presents: Arts Reach Wrap Up - 5 Tips for Cultivating Loyal Patrons & Developing Future Audiences
David Maurer has been with Vendini for 7 years, supporting performing arts organizations with their marketing, ticketing, and website development needs. He recently presented at this year’s Arts Reach conference in New York City.
Arts Reach New York was a fantastic experience! When our team asked me to present at one of the breakout sessions, I jumped at the chance. The buzz at the conference, from performing arts organizations to ticketing and marketing providers was this: how can we continue to evolve our abilities to cultivate loyal patrons and develop future audiences?
Many presenters offered best practices on ways to keep up with the times of social, mobile and digital marketing. While everyone seemed to agree there are no easy answers on how to connect with patrons online, it’s turns out there are a lot of simple steps you can take.
1. Spreading yourself too thin on too many channels could make your messaging inconsistent.
Marketing is more of a two-way conversation rather than a one-way. There are great opportunities to connect with patrons; the caveat, however, is having too many options--Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, the list goes on. How do you focus your vision of engagement?
For one thing, attempting to post daily on every possible social media channel could make it difficult for you to produce enough relevant content for your target market. The old marketing tactic of blasting the masses with your brand name doesn’t work. Personalize it. Blanketed messaging just doesn’t bode well, so keep it focused!
2. Measure your data.
This is the best practice for any marketer. Segmenting your data will help you identify your influencers and advocates. It will also enable you to economize your posting efforts. There are a ton of free social media tracking tools such as Klout, Google Analytics, Facebook Analytics. Check them out today!
3. Let your advocates speak for you.
Word of mouth, vive voce, spread the word! We as buyers have always relied on recommendations from our friends. Now with social media, word spreads faster than ever. Tapping into your advocates really goes a long way. Let them spread your reputation. This broadens your patron base which can help you sell more tickets.
4. Consistency starts with your website.
Patron experience is king! It’s not just great web design these days. How does your website look on mobile? If over half of Americans own smartphones, imagine how many are trying to visit your website on their phones. Navigating your website is often the first step to purchasing a ticket, and should be easy for both mobile and website visitors.
5. Keep your ear to the ground.
Technology, social, and mobile trends are constantly changing. Because of this, there are more opportunities to experiment with new methods of patron engagement. For example, Brattle Theatre crowdsourced funds to successfully raise over $120,000 on Kickstarter. Staying in touch with technology trends will help you keep ahead of the curve, so don't miss out on opportunities to engage and stay on it!
These are just some basic tips to consider when determining your patron engagement strategies. For more, check out my presentation at Arts Reach New York on slideshare.
(Left to Right: Mark Tacchi, Ruth Lutes, Frank Sette, Keith Goldberg, Dave Loewith, & Mark Guarnera)
Over the past year, I’ve been busy building the Vendini management team and putting the best people in place that will help me scale the business. Our goal is to always provide our Members with an exceptional product, and an support experience, both now and in the future as Vendini and our Members continue to grow. And in that vein, I am excited to announce our latest hire, Ruth Lutes, Vice President of Customer Success. Ruth is a natural leader with a passion for customer care and a penchant for process. She is a great addition to our team.
Ruth comes to us from Synaptics where she was Senior Vice President of Customer Care and Quality. She began at Synaptics as the first Customer Care employee and helped to build their international support organization from the ground up. Ruth also brings with her more than 15 years of experience in Customer Care and Quality roles at Hewlett Packard. In addition to her vast professional experience, Ruth is also passionate about fostering community locally. As a Senior Fellow in Silicon Valley American Leadership Forum, Ruth is an active supporter of the Step Up Silicon Valley project to raise families above the poverty level.
We are thrilled to welcome Ruth to our team. Please give her a warm welcome!
With all our key management positions staffed, we’ve got a strong foundation for an exceptional 2013. We are looking forward to a successful and exciting year!
Vendini INTIX Wrap Up: Mobile & Social Media Marketing
We had such a blast at INTIX and we’re still reeling over the fresh insight we gained and the fun people we met. From start to finish, we were busy--whether it was a presentation, meeting new friends at our booth, or demoing our new products--we were going, going, going!
I teamed up with Julie Dalrymple at Napa Valley Opera House to present on social media marketing for the arts in our session, ‘Cashing In On the Social Side of Marketing’. We were excited to work with one of our very own members on their strategies with social media marketing and present on their ways of measuring success. In case you missed it, our presentation on arts marketing best practices is available on Slideshare. When we weren’t presenting or in the exhibit hall, we made time to sit in on sessions and gain some great arts marketing knowledge. We saw that more and more people are finding ways to segment their online engagement data for better target marketing. One session suggested ways in which you can beta test your email marketing by sending a small batch of differing subject lines before a huge email blast to find which subject line has the best open rate. Others discussed when and how to train your box office staff (The answer is constantly and encouragingly!). But the trending topic that came up over and over again was the rise of mobile and social media. In one of the sessions, we saw that 43% of arts organization emails are read on mobile devices. One person in a session said they allowed patrons to have tickets delivered straight to their mobile phone.
The big takeaway from INTIX was that when you engage your mobile and social media hubs, you are offering possible opportunities of relevance for your patrons. Believe it or not, a patron casuallyscrolling through their newsfeed or looking up local events on their phone are the most important moments. Those moments are when you find your opportunity to reach your patron in a relevant and unobtrusive way. Mobile is an obvious trend, but it’s a hard understanding. Patrons are looking for a convenient and easy method of engagement and we need to plan our marketing efforts accordingly. Of course, we had our own announcements at INTIX. We announced the release of Vendini SiteLine, which enables Vendini members to build responsive web designs, and our Facebook Sales App, which allows all of our members to sell tickets straight from their Facebook Page.
(Entries from our $500 INTIX Magic Night Giveaway. Tune in next week for our winner!)
With the emphasis on technology and new beginnings, we came back from INTIX refreshed and even more excited for the year. We made some new friends and re-met some great Members We can’t wait to do it again next year!
Vendini Guide to Preparing Your Events For the Northeast Snowstorm
Members in the Northeast have probably heard a lot about this weekend’s pending historic snowstorm. Although forecasts are tricky, we know this is a stressful time. We’re here to fill you in on best practices to prepare for these kinds of situations so that you can feel cool, calm, and collected about your events. These best practices offer a guide to immediate actions, like what should be communicated to your patrons, how to look ahead post-snowstorm, and what kinds of event changes to expect. Please read the Vendini Guide to Preparing Events for Harsh Weather Conditions. Of course it’s hard not to be distracted and wrapped up in the panic of a snowstorm. In the rush of preparing your own home and schedule, it's important not to forget to slow down and take a moment to get yourevents in order. Fret not, friends! Our Member Services Team will be standing by in case you need help. Please reach out to us any time on our toll-free number: (800) 901-7173 ext. 2 or by email at email@example.com. Keith
Wow, 2013 came upon us quickly. The past 6 months we have been heads down working on new ways to impress our Members and we are very excited to roll out some amazing new innovations to the industry this year.
We’ve been pulling out all the stops to meet and exceed the demands of the mobile market this past year. We are continuing our leadership in mobile, after pioneering the mobile friend-to-friend market with Walletini last year. Over the past year we’ve seen our mobile ticket revenue grow over 50% on mobile, with mobile traffic now accounting for 25% of all our Members' traffic.
In tandem to the 50% smartphone growth, local searches within a 10-20 mile radius grew to 80%. Our research showed us that 74% of people would rather purchase group tickets than risk not sitting with friends and 90% of people would rather receive tickets from their friends via mobile app. People want familiarity and convenience, and we brought that to the market in 2012 with Walletini. It’s not just friend-to-friend ticketing, it’s friendly ticketing. Read more »
Traveling uncharted waters is the hallmark of this company. Our customers are our compass, guiding us to find that sweet place where we can leverage our abilities to solve unmet needs.
Well, I’m here to tell you that we listened. Big time.
In one fell swoop, we found an un-served market and created the solution: Walletini, a free app now available for iOS and Android that will act as your virtual wallet, keeping track and managing your tickets to concerts, sporting events, performing arts, and other entertainment events right from your smartphone.
What we did was zero in on a market we call Friend-to-Friend Ticketing or F2F, a place where work ends and weekends start, where meeting up with friends and buying tickets for a group and getting paid back via your mobile phone should be stress-free and simple.
I love old historic buildings, especially when care is taken to renovate and preserve the rich history that once was. There is a discernible energy that emanates from the structure when you enter such a place. This is especially true in old theatres where hundreds of performances have played themselves out over many, many years. If the seats could talk...
Hustling into our new New York office, I am energized by the pulse of the Theatre District, its zipping taxis, the bright lights, and the frenzied people I pass who I imagine are playwrights, actors or stage managers rushing to the stage.
“Again at eight o’clock, when the dark lanes of the Forties were lined five deep with throbbing taxi-cabs, bound for the theatre district, I felt a sinking in my heart. Forms leaned together in the taxis as they waited, and voices sang, and there was laughter from unheard jokes, and lighted cigarettes made unintelligible circles inside. Imagining that I, too, was hurrying toward gayety and sharing their intimate excitement, I wished them well."
- from The Great Gatsby (1925) by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The inspiration here is palpable, and I am certain that Vendini has found the perfect spot to help bring decades of rich theatre history into the 21st Century.
hung onto every word of Bruce Springsteen’s soul-stirring speech at the
South By Southwest festival last month, and left feeling like I could
rock the world – at least my part of it.
humble and sometimes irreverent look back at his career reminded the
thousands of musicians packed inside the Austin Convention Center that
hard work and passion is what it’s all about, whether you’re a musician
or a regular guy like me “rocking” a pretty great ticketing company.
purity of human expression and experience is not confined to guitars,
to tubes, to turntables, to microchips," said Springsteen. "There is no
right way, no pure way, of doing. There is just doing."
Listen to the entire keynote here
wants to be a musician, Springsteen said, but it’s more than just
writing a song – it’s about honing your craft in front of fans in live
performances. That’s what I feel we’ve done here at Vendini. For the
past decade, we’ve taken our passion for the latest technology, mixed it
with a continual riff of fresh innovation, and helped promoters sell
millions of tickets in the process.
Two months later, I am reflecting back on how I was able to escape the blustery weather here in Boston and head to San Antonio for INTIX. The hot talk for 2012 was being “Mobile Smart” and “Taking Control.”
All off this settled on convenience, such as connecting social media, mobile, and ticket sales. Vendini has already made its mark in these areas, as our CEO, Mark Tacchi, attested to in his INTIX speech to a packed room.
We’ve had Facebook and Twitter integration for several years now, plus we’re blazing the trail in mobile ticketing. For example, our software is able to detect when someone is on an iPhone, and then deliver a user experience native to that device – the software just feels right.
2012 is starting off to be one of the most exciting years in ticketing to date as technology continues to evolve the fan experience and makes doing business easier and more profitable for the concert and sporting arenas and performing arts venues serving them. I’m also excited to mention Vendini will have some big announcements to make later this year around new technology that we are confident will make a huge positive impact for the ticket buying public. Around here, I’ve been thinking a lot about the trends and opportunities I see emerging in this fresh year and I’d like to share my predictions and encourage you to share your comments with me on how you think the year will shape up for the industry.
2011 was definitely a good year for me and for Vendini. For one, 2011 was the year I joined Vendini. I wanted to come to an organization that had a passion for changing the world of ticketing, as we know. At Vendini we do this every day, as a team using innovative, simple and continuously brilliant technology (mobile, social, etc.). Like great companies that came before us Apple, Google, Facebook, and other well-respected Northern California companies, Vendini is a group of world-class people who want to disrupt an entire industry through innovation.
Mobile Ticketing A Smart(phone) Way to Catch Customers on the Run
It really wasn’t that long ago when part of the concert experience was camping out – sometimes for days – waiting in line to score tickets. Or, maybe you remember waiting up until midnight for tickets to go on sale, calling Ticketmaster and hoping not to get a busy signal.
Well, those days will soon be gone. More than 4 billion consumers own mobile phones. That’s almost 60 percent of the world’s population. As for smartphones (iPhones, Androids, etc.), it’s estimated that nearly 250 million people worldwide own one (50 million of those in are in the US), and by 2013 more than one billion people worldwide will carry a smartphone. Now, some skeptics will argue that just because someone has a mobile phone that doesn’t mean they want to use it to buy tickets. After all, people don’t just stop cold in the middle of the street and realize they need to buy tickets for the opera. Or do they? Read more »
A lot of people have asked me where the Vendini culture comes from. Our roots come from the heart of Silicon Valley in California, as we were (and still are) geeky tech gurus looking for something fun to do. We could have built any kind of tech company we wanted, given our background. We chose ticketing because it looked fun and it was an industry in desperate need of innovation. Over the years, we’ve shaken things up considerably, mostly due to our great software and dedicated service to our customers. However, there is something else that has made Vendini successful, our cloud based system architecture.
My vision for Vendini has always included giving back to the arts community and through a number of philanthropic initiatives we are striving to be just as creative and resourceful in our philanthropy as we are in developing our industry leading technology. That’s why we started “Vendini Loves the Arts,” our corporate giving program dedicated to funding non-profit arts organizations (read press release).